Thursday, 8 August 2013

“What paint do you use?”

Farrow & Ball, Annie Sloan, Little Greene, Autentico? Which paint is best for furniture?

That’s a question Laura gets asked all the time. The only real answer, unless we’re talking about a specific piece, is “any paint I like the look of”.

Unlike a lot of furniture painters, we don’t really have any brand loyalty. Sure, there are some paints we like to use more than others, but each has its own merits, depending on the desired finish.

Over the years, we’ve used Farrow &Ball, Little Greene, Annie Sloan, Dulux, Crown, Habitat, Pinebrush Colourman, Sanctuary, Craig & Rose and others we’ve probably forgotten.

And, by and large, we still use all of them to this day.

Chest of drawers in Farrow & Ball

Lots of people like to use Annie Sloan (and lots are contractually obliged to do so…) and we understand why: there’s very little preparation of the surface required – as the paint will stick to pretty much anything. You can also lay it on quite thick, wax, distress, wax, and you’re done. That’s great. It’s good for certain pieces that require a certain look. We’ve used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the past and been pleased with the results, but we’ve never attained the smooth finish we prefer on our higher-end pieces.

In fact, often, we find that ASCP ‘bobbles’ when we use it. It can be very awkward to use, but that may be down to Laura’s painting style. She taught herself to paint using eggshell, and always likes to use at least three thin coats to achieve a smooth, drip-free finish. That style doesn’t seem to be compatible with Annie Sloan’s paint. I guess that’s why people pay to go on special courses.

One furniture painter told us she uses Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as an undercoat before applying Farrow & Ball – clever.

Chest of drawers in Annie Sloan

(I’m deliberately glossing over – groan – the whole ‘chalk paint’ copyright debate, but it’s safe to say that Annie’s not really done herself many favours with the way it was handled and I feel sympathy for those people whose Facebook Pages were deleted as a result.)

Among some ardent Annie Sloan or Farrow & Ball users, there seems to be a mindset that only one brand could possibly be used, but that seems awfully restrictive.

Why limit yourself to a narrow range of colours because of brand loyalty? We much prefer to find a colour we like and use it, regardless of brand.

Some of our most popular items have been painted using non-glamorous paint brands, and many of them are much easier to apply than the expensive designer names, so we’re happy not to be tied to one brand (although, if you’re reading this in the future and we’ve since become a retailer for a particular paint brand, you can ignore everything I’ve just written).

Now, what paint do you use?

Side table in, whisper it, Dulux